Shoes are amongst the “beautiful and well-made” products appreciated worldwide.

The added value of ‘made in Italy’ has its roots in our country’s cultural and historical-artistic heritage, a source of inspiration that is behind the originality and workmanship of Italian products in many sectors, such as food, design and, naturally, fashion, industries that in 2016 had sales totalling 59 billion euros in the 31 major and most advanced markets. These markets, and particularly that of America where there is still huge potential for growth, will continue to appreciate and buy beautiful and well-made Italian products. A favourable trend that will also benefit Italian footwear, expected to be worth 9 billion euros by 2022 on the more advanced markets, more than 1.8 billion up on 2016.

These are the figures to emerge from the Confindustria (General Confederation of Italian Industry) conference “Exporting la Dolce Vita”, held on 9 May at the Museum of Cultures (Mudec) in Milan, which showed that the success of the ‘made in Italy’ brand is the result of a winning combination of culture, know-how, technology and expertise.

And technology is, in fact, the key factor behind the huge growth of e-commerce, a sales channel that, according to the CEO of Gucci Marco Bizzarri, is the only way of reaching the millennials: “On the web we can tell stories it is impossible to develop in the real world” he said. “In our shops our customers can smell the leather, while online we create content matter”.

But above all else, it is the inspiration provided by our cultural heritage that makes us unique, and that can even influence the way firms communicate and promote their products.

For example, Assocalzaturifici chose Dante’s Divine Comedy and its three canticles as the theme to promote theMICAM’s new image: an allegorical journey through the passions featured in Dante’s masterpiece.

The journey started off in the 2017 February edition from the canticle of Hell with the sin of Lust, symbol of worldly pleasures – in this case the desire and seduction of a pair of Italian shoes – while the theme for September will be Seduction. Over the next couple of years, the journey will continue through the terraces of Purgatory, and will end in the September 2019 edition with Paradise.

This way, the campaign created by the White, Red & Green agency and accompanied by Javier Vallhonrat’s iconic photographs, is revealed ‘step by step’ over the course of the various exhibitions and events.